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Critical_development_point_solitary_bee_data.xlsx (16.23 kB)

Data from: Discovery of a critical time point in the development and handling of an orchard pollinator, the blue orchard bee (Osmia lignaria, Hymenoptera: Megachilidae)

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posted on 2024-06-27, 21:07 authored by Mary-Kate WilliamsMary-Kate Williams

A native solitary bee to North America, the blue orchard bee (Osmia lignaria Say, Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) is a crucial pollinator for orchard crops such as apples, almonds, and cherries. Osmia lignaria is often managed commercially and sold to complement honey bee pollination services.

We collected data following an accidental drop of developing immature bees inside their cocoons. These bees were part of a larger experiment performed in 2020. On June 17, 2020, bees were dropped approximately one meter onto a linoleum floor at the USDA-ARS-PWA Pollinating Insect Research Unit in Logan, Utah, USA. Developing bees were in gelatin capsules and attached to a sticky board for X-ray imaging. Using a board from the same study that had not fallen, we compared survival, life stages, and bodily injuries to document the effects of dropping immature O. lignaria a short distance.

Our research highlights the risks of handling immature O. lignaria during metamorphosis. Our data provides valuable information for bee managers and researchers about the risks of physical disturbances during critical developmental stages, which could affect bee survival and pollination services in orchards.

Key findings include: (1) Near-complete mortality of developing bees before the adult molt stage, (2) Insights into the vulnerability of O. lignaria during immature developmental stages, even when inside cocoons, and (3) Documentation of how mechanical injury during immature development impacts survival.

The dataset provides counts of bees in different life stages and conditions, including: (1) Life status (alive or dead) at cocoon completion, pupation, and adult molt stages, (2) Sex determination for bees that reached adulthood (male or female), (3) Final life stage reached (prepupa, pupa, or adult), and (4) Body condition after the fall (malformed, melanized, no observable change, or partially melanized).

Additional variables in the dataset include: (1) Sample identifiers, treatment groups, and X-ray board identifiers from the original experiment and (2) Whether the board was dropped or not.

Abbreviations and acronyms in the dataset

  • Sample_ID = sample identifier (one for each individual bee)
  • Treatment = treatment groups from the original experiment
    • CONTROL = received a sham treatment (sterilized Ringer's Solution)
    • VIRUS = received a virus inoculate (virus particles in Ringer's Solution)
    • OSS10 = received organosilicon (OSS) at 10 parts per million (ppm) (diluted in Ringer's Solution)
    • OSS100 = received OSS at 100 ppm (diluted in Ringer's Solution)
    • OSS10V = received a virus inoculate and OSS at 10 ppm
    • OSS100V = received a virus inoculate and OSS at 100 ppm
  • Xray_board = sticky board identifier, which stick board were samples attached to from the original experiment
  • LifeCategory_Cocoon = life status at the time of cocoon completion
  • LifeCategory_Pupa = life status at the time of pupation
  • LifeCategory_Adult = life status at the time of the adult molt
  • Sex = sex determined for bees that reached the adult stage
  • Org_Stage = final life stage reached by bees
  • Body_Category = body condition determined after samples were dropped
  • Board_Drop = whether the samples analyzed were from dropped vs. not dropped sticky boards


USDA-ARS: 2080-21000-019-000D


Data contact name

Williams, Mary-Kate, F.

Data contact email


Ag Data Commons

Temporal Extent Start Date


Temporal Extent End Date



  • Not specified

ISO Topic Category

  • economy
  • environment
  • farming

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

orchards; Osmia lignaria; solitary bees; crops; apples; almonds; cherries; honey bees; bee pollination; cocoons; pollinating insects; Utah; gelatin; X-radiation; image analysis; risk; managers; researchers; mortality; adults; molting; data collection; pupation; sex determination; adulthood; males; females; pupae; body condition; melanization; placebos; viruses; virion

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

ARS National Program Number

  • 305

Pending citation

  • Yes

Related material without URL

Williams, Mary-Kate. Schaeffer, Robert. Cox-Foster, Diana. Discovery of a critical time-point in the development and handling of an orchard pollinator, the blue orchard bee (Osmia lignaria, Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).

Public Access Level

  • Public